Mountain Churches

Black Iron Cross

Black Iron Cross Fence
Nambe, New Mexico Cemetery
Karen Rivera 2009


Woman with Black Iron Patina and Cross

Woman with Black Iron Patina and Cross
sebastian 2003


Jemez Springs Adobe Church

Jemez Springs, New Mexico
sebastian 2009


Chimayo Chapel

Chimayo Chapel
Chimayo, New Mexico
sebastian 2009


Saint George on a Horse Shrine

Cross of the DaySt. George on a Horse
Sanctuario, Chimayo, New Mexico
sebastian 2005


Chimayo Holy Chile

Cross of the DayOur Lady of Holy Chiles
sebastian 2003


Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine at Chimayo, New Mexico

Our Lady of Gudalupe Shrine

Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine
Chimayo, New Mexico
sebastian 2003


Our Lady of Guadalupe ~ Los Cerrillos Madonna

Our Lady of Miracles
Los Cerrillos, New Mexico
Karen Rivera 2010


Hidden Grave with Flowers ~ Nambe, New Mexico

Nambe Cemetery
Nambe Pueblo, New Mexico
Karen Rivera
January 2011

I shoot a lot of cemetaries. For heart-rending, technicolor boisterous displays, you just can’t beat a New Mexican cemetary on Easter, Day of the Dead or Christmas. I’ve made it to my favorite, the Nambe Church cemetary in Nambe, every Boxing Day for most of the last 20 years. I follow that up with New Year’s Day in Acoma. It seems to make the perfect emotional double-header.

I found this small, weathered cross tucked away in a far corner surrounded by tumbleweeds and scruffy dead plants. The new flowers shows that this lonely hidden grave hadn’t been forgotten.


Hunting Crosses on the Road Between Cimarron and Taos

On the Road Between Cimarron and Taos
February 2011
Karen Rivera

The first time I went to one of the pueblos to watch the dancing I was served a small cracked hand-painted bowl of this vegetarian stew. I’ve made it ever since I had my first garden when I was a child. It’s rich, comforting and simple but like most dishes that contain green chili, the whole is tastier than the individual ingredients. Serve with freshly made corn tortillas, bowls of salsa and some cold hand-crafted beer from the brewery at Christ in the Desert.

2 ears of fresh corn, kennels cut from cob
1 large yellow onion, chopped medium
1/2  roasted, peeled and chopped hot green chil
1 TBL chopped garlic
4 c. peeled, seeded and chopped unripe pumpkin or banana squash
2 TBL oil (grapeseed if possible)

In a large kettle, saute onion and pumpkin or squash  until the onion is translucent.

Add corn, chili and garlic. Add enough fresh water to prevent sticking. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour.


Nambe Church Cross

Cross of the Day

Nambe, New Mexico
Karen Rivera 2008


Village Church at Manzano, New Mexico

Manzano, Founded 1824
Manzano, New Mexico
Karen Rivera

Manzano is one of New Mexico’s small almost ghost towns tucked away in the Cibola National Forest. With an estimated population of 54, the main attractions are its photo opps and  the legendary Manzano Mountain Retreat.

For 35 years, the working apple farm has produced  4,000 bushels of apples and 3,000 gallons of cider annually. A daily update on the web site lists which of the 34 types are currently available.

The aerial shot below, taken from the Manzano Mountain Retreat website shows the orchards cut out of the forest.


Vintage Sanctuario Photograph ~ Classic Northern New Mexico Adobe Church


Church at Sanctuario, 1950’s

Chimayo, New Mexico
Scanned Vintage Postcard
Karen Rivera

This vintage postcard of Sanctuario left me stunned. I’ve shot hundreds of photographs of the church but I never saw it as a real small Northern New Mexican town chuch like those scattered all over the state until I found this postcard.


San Antonio Church ~ Punta de Agua, New Mexico


Punta de Agua

Highway 55, Southern New Mexico
Karen Rivera

The small villages along Highway 55 have always held a special place in my hard-scrabble New Mexican heart. Using the few resources available in the barren, harsh acres early settlers recycled the ever-present rocks into homes, walls, and churches.

In Punta de Agua, the rough-cut stone San Antonio Church stands as a monument to an earlier example of sustainable and green building.

If you’d like to walk through Punta de Agua at street level, click here to go to Google Maps, then click satellite.

 


San Ysidro Church with Silver Cupola and Cross

Church at San Ysidro, New Mexico

Old Adobe Church
San Ysidro, New Mexico
Karen Rivera Spring 2010

The village of San Ysidro, originally a farming settlement, was named after Saint Isidore the Farmer in 1699. San Ysidro holds an annual Fiesta in his honor each year in mid-May.


First Catholic Church in Oregon for Sale?

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church with Trolley
Jacksonville, Oregon
Karen Rivera 2009

One of the most charming reasons to live in a small town is hearing the Sunday Services down the street from my house. Even though I have to leave, I never thought the historic Church would. It’s been there since 1858 but it’s being closed and probably put up for sale. To say my community is stunned is an understatement.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Jacksonville in Southern Oregon was the first Catholic Church built in Oregon. I’ve watched as the parishioners paid for a new heating system, painted the outside, installed new carpet and wallpaper, upgraded the doors and windows and refinished the pews without help from the diocese. Volunteers mow the lawn, rake the leaves and set-up the Sunday picnic benches. Their meticulous yard work makes me wince when I see my front yard. Apparently, self-maintenance and donating a cash collection every week in exchange for a monthly 4 hours of Masses wasn’t enough to keep the doors open for the 100 or so members.

This is a comitted group of people who have been taking care of each other since 1956. It’s not just a building that’s going to be lost.


St. Joseph’s Church ~ Los Cerrillos, New Mexico


Courtyard, Saint Joseph’s Church
Los Cerrillos, New Mexico

Los Cerrillos has always seemed to me to be the perfect example of a  New Mexico boom town. Once the unofficial  capitial of the state,  it’s now a modern day ghost town on South 14, a few miles north of Madrid.

After the arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad in 1880,  shipping the gold, silver, lead, zinc and turquoise from the 3,000 miners in the area no longer had to be shipped by wagon. Los Cerrillos grew to feature 21 saloons, 5 brothels, 4 hotels, several dance halls and a real honest-to-goodness Opera House. The construction of Saint Joseph’s Church on Main Street confirmed that civilization had truly arrived.

Casa Grande Trading Post, Cerrillos Turquoise Mining Museum, & Petting Zoo

Today, the washboard streets and dusty storefronts are a mostly undisturbed  reminder of  Old West meets celluloid. 13 films have been shot in and around Los Cerrillos, including the 1972 John Wayne movie The Cowboys shot just outside of town. A remnant of the production of Young Guns lingers on a two-story stucco wall.  The real Wortley Hotel (Motto: No Guest Gunned Down in Over a 100 Years) is in Lincoln, not Los Cerrillos.

Los Cerrillos porch ceiling

On weekends, Mary’s Saloon and the Casa Grande Trading Post, Cerrillos Turqoise Mining Museum, & Petting Zoo swarm with tourists from the City Different stopping off on the Turquoise Trail. Several seasonal businesses open up with the return of the tourists, adding whimsical touches.

Several artists call Los Cerrillos home. Metal sculptures and eclectic murals are scattered though the tiny town. A few of the gritty, sandblasted storefronts now make it possible to walk under the stars as you stay out of the sun.

My connection with Los Cerrillos was very short-lived. My job working weekends  at the Tiffany Saloon and Melodrama ended when, as usual, my confidence in British mechanics was misplaced and my 1961 Morris Mini-Cooper needed a new engine.

 

The Tiffany Saloon and Melodrama burned down in 1977 but you can still find traces of it, and other long-lost buildings, by looking for the metal yellow signs all over town.

Karen Rivera 2010


The Entry Fee to Heaven ~ Sunday Services as Honest as the Horses We Ride

My favorite kinds of church services are ones that happen outdoors. There’s just something about a group of people singing hymns outside under a blue sky early on Sunday morning that touches me. It seems to be more of a direct spiritual connection when the sound echoes directly up to the sky without a roof in the way.

Chasing down an overheard reference in an Old Colorado Springs coffee shop, I stumbled on another of Colorado’s unexpected treats. Driving through most small towns, you wonder where the end of town is. In Penrose, 35 miles south on 115, you won’t have that problem. The town ends after a few blocks when the paved road abruptly does.The town has no stop lights, a volunteer fire department, and almost no problems except for what seems to be a group of entitled clowns.

The Sunday I stopped by the Cowboy Church, there were more horses than cars. The steam rising in the cold air from riders and the huffing of the horses was a scene out of a cowgirl’s dream. When they read the Rodeo Cowboy’s prayer at the end of the service in memory of long lost friends, I wasn’t the only one in tears.

Rodeo Cowboy’s Prayer

Our gracious and heavenly Father, we pause in the midst of this festive
occasion, mindful and thoughtful of the guidance that you have given us.
As cowboys, Lord, we don’t ask for any special favors.
We ask only that you let us compete in this arena.
We don’t ask to never break a barrier,
or to draw a round of steer that’s hard to throw,
or a chute fighting horse, or a bull that is impossible to ride.
We only ask that you help us to compete as honest as the horses we ride
and in a manner as clean and pure as the wind
that blows across this great land of ours.
So when we do make that last ride
that is inevitable for us all to make, to that place up there,
where the grass is green and lush and stirrup high,
that you’ll tell us as we ride in that our entry fees have been paid.
These things we ask.
Amen.


© Clem McSpadden. In memory of Howard Manuel, Jim Moore and Zachary Vanwhy.

 


Following My Heart in Winnemucca, NV

Winnemucca Heart
Winnemucca, NV
June 2010
Karen Rivera


San Raphael, Patron Saint of Travelers



San Raphael
Patron Saint of Travelers
Acrylic on raw alderwood
Karen Rivera 2005


Walking the Rosary


Walking the Rosary
Christ in the Desert
Outside of Abiquiu, New Mexico
Evangeline Chavez

The Monastery of Christ in the Desert, Abiquiu, New Mexico, U.S.A., was founded in 1964 by Fr. Aelred Wall with monks of Mount Saviour Monastery. Christ in the Desert is located in  Chama Canyon in northwestern New Mexico outside of the village of Abiquiu. It is a fascinating blend of sustainable systems including passive solar, straw bale buildings and medieval silence.

The long, dusty, potholed thirteen mile drive through the serentity and peace of the Monastery’s dirt road offers a true modern-day pilgrim’s journey through miles of Federal Wilderness.

Information about visiting Christ in the Desert can be found here. It’s a remarkably moving experience to walk in and spend the day, as is the rule, in utter silence.


San Antonio Church, Punta de Agua

Punta de Aqua
Highway 55, Southern New Mexico
Karen Rivera

The small villages along Highway 55 have always held a special place in my hard-scrabble New Mexican heart. Using the few resources available in the barren, harsh acres early settlers recycled the ever-present rocks into homes, walls, and churches.

In Punta de Aqua, the rough-cut stone San Antonio Church stands as a monument to an earlier example of sustainable and green building.

If you’d like to walk through Punta de Aqua at street level, click here to go to Google Maps, then click satellite.


Nuestra Senora de Los Dolores de Manzano

Nuestra Nuestra Senora de Los Dolores de Manzano
Manzano, New Mexico
Karen Rivera


Turquoise Steeple at San Antonio, New Mexico

Turquoise Steeple
San Antonio Church
San Antonio, New Mexico
Karen Rivera